Although Dak Prescott's second MRI revealed good news and confirmed that his shoulder strain continues to improve, the possibility of him not taking a snap in a preseason game is real. The original plan was for Prescott to play against the Houston Texans this coming Saturday, and according to Mike McCarthy, that's his only chance to take the field before the regular season.
"If he doesn't play this week I won't play him in the fourth [preseason game]," McCarthy said on Monday. "To me, the fourth one is for the players competing for the roster spots."
That means that it's this Saturday or bust for Prescott to play any preseason football, and while McCarthy has said all along that it would be great to see his starting quarterback take the field against the Texans, he will have no problem holding him out if they don't feel he is ready.
"There's no urgency from my perspective to see Dak play against Houston," McCarthy said.
Building back up Prescott's workload throwing the ball is a slower process while his shoulder gets back to full-strength.
"The biggest thing is staying on course with his throwing," McCarthy said. "It's a plan of caution. We just really don't want to put him in a position where he can reinjure it."
McCarthy also stated that Prescott will participate in Monday's practice open to the public at The Star, but the quarterback will be limited and held out of competitive throwing.
All of this means that if Prescott doesn't suit up on Saturday against the Texans then his first time competing on an NFL field since his season-ending ankle injury last October will be against Tom Brady and the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL's season opener. McCarthy was asked Monday if even one preseason series might help Prescott clear some mental hurdles before the season starts.
"I think we'd all like that, but that's not the priority," McCarthy stated.